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Fight Back Against Charges for Resisting Arrest!


In any encounter with the police, it is only natural to want to ask questions and find out more about the situation. No one wants to be pushed around physically or restrained with no idea about whats going on. However, the police are trained to take control of any situation quickly and with authority. The unfortunate juxtaposition between police authority and your own natural resistance to being physically accosted may potentially escalate into a situation where you find yourself facing additional charges for resisting arrest.

The offense of Resisting Arrest or Other Law Enforcement,18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5104, is the code section under which you may be charged. Just because you are charged with resisting arrest doesn’t mean the charges are well founded. A charge of resisting arrest requires that there be a substantial risk of bodily injury to the officer, or that substantial force is required to overcome the resistance. Keepin in mind that you may still be charged even if you don’t strike or grapple with the officer. (Indeed, you may even find yourself facing additional aggravated assault charges if you do hit the cop). Instead all is required that substantial force is required to overcome your resistance.

But that doesn’t mean that you are guilty for all delays in the arrest process for not complying with police officer’s demands. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has held that the charge of resisting arrest does not apply to a “minor scuffle incident to arrest” where a defendant is attempting to shake his way free of an officer’s grasp. Also, merely fleeing the scene on its own is not enough to establish a conviction.

Charges of resisting arrest also require that the reason for the arrest in the first place is lawful. This means that the officers making the arrest must have had probable cause to arrest you for a crime. In these cases, the analysis of whether you have been legally seized comes in. (see my analysis in my posts on Terry Stops and Police Encounters). In the absence of a lawful arrest, a conviction for resisting arrest or other law enforcement activity can only be supported where the defendant attempted to interfere with a public servant attempting to do their job. This may include preventing police from executing a search warrant, or something non law enforcement related such as blocking off your street to keep firefighters from putting out a fire.

If you have had an encounter with police that turned sour, and you now find yourself with charges of resisting arrest in addition to any other criminal charges, you need an attorney to stand up for you! Don’t be pushed around by law enforcement any more. Attorney Frank Walker can counsel you on your rights and fight for you in court. Attorney Walker has years of experience fighting for criminal defendants in Pittsburgh, PA and Morgantown, WV. Call us now at (412) 212-3878 for the Pittsburgh Office, and (304) 712-2089 for our office in Morgantown.